There’s a general misconception that only the hoarders and compulsive shoppers among us need expert advice to sort out their space. However, when I’m helping clients to declutter and organize, it’s usually clear that it’s not a spending problem to blame for having too many possessions in one place. There are many reasons why people accumulate so much stuff that they can’t get rid of. And the more it mounts up, the more the dreaded clutter cloud hangs over their head. This can be overwhelming and make it hard to know where to start.
If that sounds familiar, here are some simple tips to tackle the problem head-on and start afresh in 2022:
- Don’t try and tackle it all at once. Instead, start with a mini-declutter: spend 15 -20 minutes decluttering items from a small area in a room, such as a kitchen shelf, a coffee table, or a hanging area. The next day, move onto another manageable area in the same room. If you commit to doing that every day you will have decluttered an entire room in a week.
- Once you have removed items, sort the remaining items in each area into broad categories and organize a space for them.
- Moving forward, follow the “Buy 1, Get Rid of 2” rule: when you buy something new, get into the habit of clearing out two existing items (preferably in the same bracket as what you have purchased). So, if you buy one dress, declutter two dresses from your wardrobe.
- If that feels a bit extreme, keep a bag in your wardrobe and every time you find something you don’t like, use, wear, or can’t fit into, put it in the bag. Once the bag is full, take the items to the donation bin or charity shop. If you do this regularly, you cover the “Buy 1, Get Rid of 2” rule without thinking about it.
- In today’s world, clutter is not only physical; digital detritus can weigh us down just as much. With digital clutter, use the acronym FAT – File, Act, Toss – to deal with any emails and paperwork that enter your life. As soon as something comes in, see if you can file it in a folder, act on it within two minutes or toss it into the dustbin. When you receive junk mail, always unsubscribe before deleting it. Once you make this a habit, you will gradually get rid of more emails with the aim of dealing with 10 or less in your inbox each day.
- Finally, if you have a really huge amount of emails, take all of them from one year and put them in a folder. While watching a movie or an easy-to-follow tv series, start going through (grouping them in threads) and delete the ones you don’t need. You’ll be amazed at how many emails you can get rid of during a two-hour movie.
Shelina Jokhiya’s book Can you Find it in Five Seconds? is available now on Amazon. To purchase or book an appointment to get organized with Shelina and her team, go to Decluttrme.com.